Sept 13, 2018
Our friend Patrick from Oakville based Mango Charters reports that the seaweed is blooming in the Caribbean this year.
“There’s an interesting problem throughout the entire Carib that seems to be going very much un-publicized or at least with little concern but I think it’s going to be a major issue.
During a trip in 2015 south we experienced a tremendous amount of Sargassum weed. Selfishly we called it a pain because it would get caught up in the prop, fill water strainers and just smell bad.
“This year it has become 3x worse and the worst in history by far.
We’d be sailing through football fields of it. When motoring – having to clear the prop every hour.
“Talking to locals down island it is a much more serious curse. The beaches are completely covered with it. Most resorts cannot keep up with clearing so tourism will suffer. And more importantly, sea creatures are suffering. Turtles cannot get back to the beaches they lay eggs on. Fish in harbours and bays are floating to the surface because of the toxic deterioration.”
Here’s the University of South Florida’s monthly analysis from August 31:
Back in early February 2018, we predicted that 2018 would be another Sargassum year for the Caribbean. Satellite observations in February – August confirmed this prediction, when the largest bloom (as compared to the same months in history) in both the central West Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea (CS) was observed. The maps here show Sargassum abundance, with warm colors representing high abundance.
Satellite observations also showed Sargassum transport to the Gulf of Mexico, Florida Straits, and the east coast of Florida. All these observations are confirmed by the numerous reports of beaching events in these regions. According to the August 2018 map, there is still substantial amount of Sargassum in the central West Atlantic. Therefore, in the coming months, there is a high chance that the bloom and Sargassum beaching in the CS will continue to at least October 2018, and possibly exceed the historical record in 2015.